It's such an old, lame joke that it doesn't even cause you to crack a smile anymore when you hear it. How can you tell when a politician is lying? His lips are moving.
Earlier this week Brian Bilbray was sworn in to replace disgraced Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham and it didn't take him long to prove that he -- like far too many of the GOP majority -- isn't the fiscal conservative that he made himself out to be while campaigning.
Via the Club for Growth:
Elected last week in the special election to replace felon Duke Cunningham in Californiaâ€™s 50th District, Brian Bilbray has cast several votes that seem to contradict what he said while trying to get elected.
From the San Diego Union Tribune:
â€œBilbray said problems arise when earmarking is done in secret, so he proposed a ban on earmarks done behind closed doors.â€
And here are some comments he made at a debate:
â€œI think the first priority is transparency and we passed a lot of laws when I first went to congress in 1995. There is still more to do, not allowing members of congress to put in private so-called earmarks for funding.â€
Despite these strong words to clean up the earmark process, Bilbray promptly voted YES on the T-THUD appropriations bill yesterday, which contained over 1500 earmarks ($), most of which werenâ€™t even in the final bill, but secretly hidden in committee reports.
Plus, he voted NO and NO and NO and NO on each of Jeff Flakeâ€™s anti-pork amendments.
Bilbray claims to be a fiscal conservative, but so far heâ€™s off to a bad start.
If you want details, follow the link, because the post over at the Club for Growth contains all of the necessary source material.
Unfortunately, true conservatives of both the fiscal and social variety knew from the start that Bilbray wasn't their man. Bilbray ran as a social liberal and a fiscal conservative. It's become quickly apparent that only the former is actually true.
Unfortunately, we residents of California's 50th Congressional District are going to be stuck with Bilbray for at least 2 1/2 more years. In winning the special election, Bilbray also won the GOP primary and will face Democrat Francine Busby again in November. Busby has proven that she doesn't have a prayer of unseating even the most liberal Republican in this GOP-gerrymandered district.
It's a way off, but what needs to happen here -- and in quite a few GOP-held districts nationwide -- is serious primary challenges from "real" Republicans. Earlier this month, Mike Folmer, a candidate for the Pennsylvania Senate wrote an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal on the Republican primary revolt in that state. In the "May Massacre," 16 incumbent Republicans, including the two top leaders in the state senate, found themselves lame ducks as they were defeated by primary challengers. The defeated Republicans had colluded with Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell to raise taxes, increase spending and, to add insult to injury, approved an unconstitutional pay raise for themselves late at night. Folmer wrote:
These people at the grassroots no longer viewed the state Legislature as a servant of the people but as an exclusive club for political insiders. They fumed as the legislators voted to increase their own pensions by 50%, in addition to excessive daily allowances just to show up for work, and at the practice of allowing members to take expensive junkets to resort locations.
It was as if the Republican Party leadership in the state capitol had forgotten everything they'd been taught by Ronald Reagan -- that the core values of the Republican Party were lower taxes, less spending and limited government.
Pennsylvania is a model for what needs to happen nationwide. Voters need to hold Republicans accountable for adhering to their campaign promises and Reagan's principles. Too many Republican voters are willing to settle solely for lower taxes, but that value becomes a vice when it is not paired with prudent fiscal discipline.